Tattoo Cover Ups

"Cover ups" usually involve a tattooer reworking another artist's design to transform it into a new piece.

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As a technical process, covering up a tattoo requires breaking apart the ink and scar tissue in the original piece, while simultaneously putting new ink in its place. This requires knowledge about how different pigments interact, and how ink molecules of different sizes work together in human skin.

Depending on the complexity of the original tattoo, artists may recommend laser removal sessions to help break apart the ink beforehand. Pale colors are easier to cover; black ink is typically only covered by black, though experiments are ongoing with color over black, met with varied results.

Covering tattooed skin with a new design also requires creative vision and flexibility from the artist. Many tattooers don't work with cover ups at all, or will only accept certain kinds of pieces. Others will pride themselves in their ability to rework old tattoos. It's generally a matter of preference and creative outlook. No two tattooers will ever approach a cover up in the same way.

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